Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Knitting Curmudgeon's Blog Year 13!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"Be always at War with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you, a better person." - Benjamin Franklin

Yeah, Ben, my beloved historical guy. And am so happy that I've been writing this blog since 2002. The Knitting Curmudgeon existed before then. Back in 1997, I created an AOL Member website called "The Knitting Curmudgeon" and many KnitList people read it. But when Google created Blogger, that was perfect for The Knitting Curmudgeon. The website was nice but Blogger was much easier for adding posts.

2015 is a major year for me but those of you who know me, know my age. Ain't writing it publicly.

Fibreality Designs Happening

Yes, busy designing and editing my directions. As I once wrote here, you can edit your own directions if you don't edit them immediately, waiting a week so your writing hits your eyes as new.

Here's my latest sock design, Ant Eggs Socks. Yes, I took the picture on my foot, using my iPhone.

Ant Eggs is the pattern title. I found it on my "Mon Tricot Knitting Encyclopedia 1500 Patterns" book. Yes, an oldie. Was published in 1984 and I still have it. Back then, Mon Tricot magazines were my thrills. The French created wonderful knitting designs and that's where I first saw a pattern that contained short rowing. I was shocked! NO!!! You don't knit and then turn back halfway through the row! Well, I did it anyhow. And discovered that the French had created a wedge method. Heh.

A short blog entry today, due to holiday happenings. So darling readers, have a wonderful New Year Evening tomorrow night. I'm gonna be home, alone, just knitting and watching a movie via Netflix.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Cheaper Yarn for Designing These Days

Best Quote I Heard All Day

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.” --John Lennon

Yes, John! I've been hanging out in Michael's, searching for cheap stuff that I can use for designs that will be created for knitting beginners.

Primarily, I have bought some Lion Brand yarns that I figure beginners would buy first. Lion Brand does have a decent sock yarn, Sock-Ease Yarn. Just started knitting a basic lace sock design with this.
This picture is upside-down. The lace ribbing are the bottom stitches, the others are the main lace pattern. These lace patterns are pretty easy for beginners, so I figure that putting this up on Ravelry will sell pretty well. Heh, heh!

The other Lion Brand yarn I bought yesterday is this--Heartland, which is a worsted weight, but 100% acrylic. FEH!

I haven't knit acrylic in years. And bought purple too because I'm a purple freak. I'll design a cardigan with this, using a good stitch pattern that will appeal to beginners. Gonna call the cardigan "Knitting Novice Cardigan."

Back when I wrote "You Can Knit!", had to design shit for beginners. After these two designs, I have a bunch of advanced designs. Yes, lots of socks, plus several sweaters. Plus I designed a hat for my two nephews, so I'm gonna put that design up on Ravelry too.

A short post today. Ain't got much to write about and am going back to needles in my hands. Knitting keeps me comfy, due to my unemployment. And am about to send some yarn shop owners my workshops list.

Love to teach. My darling grandmother, Constance Carsten, was a teacher in Staten Island, at PS 11 there. When I applied for college, Grandma told me that I should be an Education major. "No, Grandma! I don't want to teach a bunch of silly little kids!" I wish I had paid attention to her. Once I became the Assistant Knit and Crochet Editor at McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazine, Grandma was very proud! She told me, "You are now a teacher, correcting or writing directions for readers." This was in 1983, Grandma still alive. She died in 1985 and I have never stopped missing her. She was a sweetheart, who I adored. And when Mom made her a sweater, that I designed, Grandma was thrilled that we both knit.

Yes, losing Mom last March broke my heart. She and I were best friends with our knitting stuff. Now that Christmas is approaching, I am still saddened, going to miss her even more for the holiday. Last Christmas, she had given me a KnitPicks lace shawl kit that she couldn't make, confused with the lace chart and the directions. So I made it for her, finished by Christmas. And kept the directions. making the shawls for my daughters because I had a pile of KnitPicks Palette yarn, used for the shawl.

So will probably blog post before Christmas, if I have anything to tell you, skanks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yarn Shops...Addiction!!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.--Mark Twain

Going to yarn shops is damn fun! Mark Twain is my beloved author...reading his "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" when I was 10 years old and kept reading his books. So this post is about my favorite yarn shops...addiction, for sure.

But my designing recently included my darling nephew Nicholas. Here's Auntie Marilyn's cap!
Making one for his brother Alex too. Grandson Ian will get a cap too, as soon as I measure his head. HA! !!

My Favorite New Jersey Yarn Shop

Obviously I go to my state yarn joints, primarily Trillium Yarns, which was located in Morristown on Route 202, away from the town's center. The shop was in the right side of the building. Beverly moved the shop into the town center, 4 Cattano Avenue, near the Morristown Green and the courthouse too.
The store carries many top yarns: Blue Sky Alpacas, Koigu, Manos del Uruguay, Rowan, Spud and Chloe, Lobster Pot Yarns, Malagrigo, Zitron, and more. 

My Favorite Pennsylvania Yarn Shop and others

Mountain Knits and Pearls, up in East Stroudsburg, is beloved. The owner, Joanne, has a huge pile of yarn brands. I go up there constantly, a 30 mile drive...well worth it. Mountain Knits and Pearls also carries beads and jewelry supplies too. Here's a picture of the shop:

Yeah, took the picture from my car. 
There are other yarn shops in PA that I want to hit. The one in Bethlehem, The Knitter's Edge, has big hot reviews. 
I also go to Twist Knitting & Spinning down in Lahaska PA, in Bucks County. Love New Hope and recently saw Joe Wilcox, QueerJoe, at Twist. Twist carries wonderful stuff! Lots of top yarn brands, spinning wheels and fibers, and terrific knitting tools. My daughter Jennifer and I love to go to New Hope, having lunch and shopping. But going to Twist is a must.

New York City Favorite Yarn Shops

Been to all of them but recently went to Knitty Citty
There are a lot of shops in NYC, to which I have been. And love taking friend on a yarn shop crawl in the city. If you want me to take you, will. Here's a CBS list of the top 5 knitting shops.

So skanks, if you have yarns shops in your state, leave a comment here. I have thought that I may write a Yarn Shop Directory that I would put up on Ravelry. 

Next post will be next week, I hope. Gotta keep the blog movin' and groovin' Tontstant Weaders,

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sock It to You...Next Book

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"I hate writing, I love having written"--Dorothy Parker

Last weekend, I went to New Hope PA, where my dear Dorothy Parker lived with her husband Alan Campbell, who was an actor at the Bucks County Playhouse. They lived in Bucks County for a while. You know that Dorothy is my writing queen; however, some of her quotes, like this one, are bullshit. And Dorothy Parker was a Jersey girl, born in Long Branch, Monmouth County, in 1893.

Madame Author...Mar, My Nickname

Knitting and writing activities keep my brain functional. So I'm going to create a book with all my sock designs in it. Yes, "Sock It To You" is the title. Currently, I've been screwing around with a sock design for which I've hunted for the proper yarn. My titles are all comic.

This sock I've entitled "Chevron Chase Socks." Yes, Chevy Chase is one of my beloved comedians, although he hasn't been doing much lately.. Chevy is now 71 and I hope he ain't retired.

So my work on the Chevron Chase design has been constant. I finally found a sock yarn that flies!
This yarn is KFI Indulgence 6Ply. Needed a stripe sock yarn so that the chevron stitch is attacked. Initially, I tried the pattern on Mini  m Crystal Palace Mini Mochi. Didn't work at all, although I loved the Rainbow colors.
Got a pile of sock designs for this book, although I have to design toe-up socks too. I prefer top-down but was thinking that I should provide both techniques for each design. Dunno if I want to do that. But will add top-down designs eventually. 

The directions are written for double-pointed needles but I use the Magic Loop technique, always. And I provide my gusset improvement technique too. Way back when, July 7, 2010, wrote that here. 

Winner Winter Designs

My darling nephew, Nicholas, asked Auntie Marilyn to make him a knitted cap. So I was happy to design something for him and for cold weather. Yes, making this using Magic Loop.

Well, time to get back to knitting, due to the hideous snow outside. Have a nice Thanksgiving, skanks!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Lace Stitch Pattern Designing

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works."--Steve Jobs, Cofounder, CEO, and Chairman of Apple Inc.

My Lace Stitch Pattern Designing

Lately lace is my knitting addiction. And I taught myself how to design a lace stitch pattern. Creating lace patterns is drawing with decreases and yarn overs. Lately I've been working on a lace scarf with my initial lace design. It's Ellie's Heart. 
I photographed it on my pattern chart, using the magnet bars to stretch it out. Metza metz!

Back when Mom was alive and my knitting best friend, she frequently asked me to design a lace scarf for her. Now that she is gone, I decided to design my first lace stitch pattern with Mom in my heart. The stitch pattern I entitled "Ellie's Heart." The laceweight is Reywa Fibers Bloom, 50% Yak Down, 50% silk. What the fuck is Yak Down? Never had heard of it. I did a Google search and discovered the Yak. Here's the Wikipedia info. Yaks are cute! Here's a Yak.

This lace weight is lovely; however it's skinny for laceweight. Working with #0 needles ain't easy because the needles are too large for this. I may switch the yarn for the Ellie's Heart Scarf. 

Today's Quote Shit

Steve Jobs was my IT love. Back in 1984, I began working on a computer, it was the initial Macintosh. As the Knitting Editor for MacKnit, the knitting machine magazine, our publisher bought it and I taught myself how to create graphics. Here's the cover of a 1986 issue. It's available on Amazon! 
This was one of the final issues, due to the crazy publishers, who screwed up the business and decided to dump the magazine so they could declare bankruptcy. Yes, I was the Knitting Editor on this issue.

Glad I felt like writing the blog again. Writing while I'm sitting home sans a job, I feel like I'm operative. My depression is improved. Still looking for a job; however, I will never stop blogging. Am about to write a book, probably a sock designs ebook. And having talked to Shannon Okey at Rhinebeck, will submit to Cooperative Press

So Tonstant Weaders, I'm gonna keep blogging every week. Many of my readers became real friends. So see ya in MD Sheep & Wool next May, I hope.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rhinebeck...Back! NY Sheep & Fiber Love

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." Mark Twain

Yes, Mark Twain! I was a crazy little kid, runniing away when Mom took me out. Back when my Grandma was going to Italy on the SS United States, she had a party on the ship before it left. Me being 4 years old, had to run through the ship to see the ship shops. Because I was lost, the ship captain keep the ship from leaving until I was found. Mom spanked me. 

Ha! She then bought me a leash. Once my parents bought a house in Montclair NJ and we were moving from Kew Gardens, Queens NY, I continued running around. That's another reason Mom taught me how to knit, draw, make Christmas ornaments, and paint. 

Mom taught me how to knit when I was 7 because I swiped her colorful plastic markers from her knitting bag.

Rhinebeck This Year

My friend Duffy Stephens came from Portland, Oregon, staying with me. I was glad that I could have her with me. And we went to Rhinebeck Saturday and Sunday, plus I took her to New York City to go to Habu Textiles and Knitty City. Cool!

As always, I go to hang out with friends. Sat with Lars Rains, my dear knitting boy. Lars is a wonderful designer, Modern Lopi is his website and he sells his designs on Ravelry too. I also bought some of Lisa Souza's wonderful yarn. Here's her website link. Yes, I know Lisa too.

And stopped to see Shannon Okey, Cooperative Press founder. I'm going to submit my sock design book to Cooperative Press. I've titled it "Sock It To Me". 
Didn't buy much, due to the huge yarn and fiber stash that I have. But here's pix of some of my Rhinebeck stuff.

Yummy! It's Greenwood Fiberworks 50% Merino, 50% silk. 

And another purchase was this stuff...yarn and some knitter's jewelry. I put this picture up on Facebook and was asked about the yarn.

A young guy was selling this yarn. His business is called Jan Marek Raczkowski Studio. The yarn is 78% mohair, 13% wool, and 9% nylon. It's definitely fingerweight, and the yardage, 480, is enough for a sock design. But I'm not interested in designing big mohair socks. Even though it has nylon, I'm not inclined to shove socks made of this on my big feet HEH!!!!!

 Next year I'm going to MD Sheep & Wool to hang out with friends there. My darling skanks, come and visit me there. Am I a fucking knitting celeb? Kinda. When I tell knitters I'm the Knitting Curmudgeon, lots of them know who I am. 

Creating The Knitting Curmudgeon blog back in 2002 was my grief therapy because I lost my beloved husband Jimmy, a fabulous wooden ship modeler and nautical history expert. Jimmy wrote a how-to book for ship modelers. He would have been proud of me when I wrote "YOU CAN KNIT!" 

So I'm gonna blog post more quickly. Sitting at home, doing knitting designing, isn't all that I want to do. Gonna do some knitting and spinning workshops eventually and going to submit a workshop to Vogue Knitting Live. Love to teach! Being a tehcnical trainer was lovely. So check the blog out soon, skanks! Bye!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Still Livin' Lacey Designing!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"One likes to believe that there is memory in the fingers; memory undeveloped, but still alive.” -- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Yes, EZ always hit the truth. Back in 1983, right before I got that Assistant Knitting & Crochet Editor job at McCall's Needlework & Crafts, I wrote a letter to EZ on the Schoolhouse Press address, asking her how could I become a knitting designer. A week later, Meg Swanson phoned me and she told me how to learn to design. 

My Knitting History II

Beginning in 1983, I started to collect knitting books. Got a pile of them at McCall's that I used for editing and was allowed to keep them. And the primary book for learning how to design was this one.
The initial copyright is 1940 and my book's copyright is 1964. Yes, I have a huge library of knitting, spinning, weaving, crewel embroidery, quilting books. 

Mom thought it was funny that I was able to do the knitting designing mathematics because when I was in high school, had to go to an algebra tutor because math didn't hit my brain. Once I wanted to create my own sweaters, mathematics didn't screw up my eyeballs and thoughts.

My Lace Pattern Directions

Still working on the Koigu Merino Laceweight lace shawl. And although I'm going to submit it to Knitty.com, was thinking that it might be nice to submit it to Vogue Knitting. Drawing a sketch is tough because I'm not that kind of artist. Might ask my Liz, the family artist, to do that for me. 

Ultimately, if my lace shawl isn't accepted, I'll dump it up on Ravelry. And when I write directions for Ravelry or other knitting patterns websites, I add instructions about what to do. 

For example, when you're knitting a large lace shawl, gotta count the number of pattern repeats, you should mark each repeat. This is how I do it, with the locking stitch markers. The first stitches are slip stitches and on the final row, the marker is attached to the first slip stitch.

Mister Ranger, the Knitting Kitteh

Ranger will be 3 years old Monday, October 6. He's not a normal kitteh. Doesn't swap my yarn but once chewed my wooden knitting needles. He sits in my spinning wheel chair but when I spin, is uninterested in the movement.

Here he is, chewing a needle. I took this picture because he's so cute! And he didn't break the needle point.

Rhinebeck and Stitches East

Next weekend, Stitches East. And I haven't decided whether I'm going to go because it's up in Hartford Connecticut, a 3.5 hour drive from where I live...Budd Lake, NJ. On Facebook, asked my FB friends who was going to Rhinebeck, aka New York State Sheep and Wool Festival

My dear Tonstant Weaders, if you're going, I'll be up by the food area at the top of the little hill, near Building A around 11 a.m. And will have my Ravelry button pinned on my shirt. Yes, it's KnitCurmudgeon. 

Back writing here next week...if I go to Stitches, will take a pile of pictures...although way back when, I photographed all the hideous sweaters I saw people wearing there and Franklin told me that because I published them, photographing was then forbidden. Heh. I did what I called the Hideous Sweater Gallery, back when my blog was on its own website address. Blogger let you use a website back then. All those pictures are gone. 

So write to ya later, skanks!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lazy Lacy? NO!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage.” --Elizabeth Zimmerman

Lazy Lacy

Yeah, I love creating titles for my designs and articles. I'm busy doing a lace shawl design, made with the new Koigu Lace Merino. Can't show ya the lace design due to its submission to Knitty, but here's a picture of what I'm using.

The lace stitch pattern is relatively easy, Lazy Lacy. HA! It's pretty and memorizable.

I often teach my knitting friends and their lace mistakes are big problems. Here are a couple, with slight solutions .

Mistake #1: On the wrong side, my stitches next to my yarnovers (YOs) are twisted, yanked down and I have to twist them back so I can insert the needle. If the yarnover is wrapped tightly on the needle, it will yank the stitch next to it and cause the twist. So when you make a yarnover, do it loosely so that the nextdoor stitches aren't twisted. Couldn't do a picture of this. So just make sure you create your YO loosely.

Mistake #2: Forgot to make a yarnover. You can pick up the strand between the two stitches where the yarnover should have been, making a little yarnover that hasn't been made correctly. Obviously, this yarnover is going to be smaller than the others. Depends on how extensive the lace pattern is. If it's simple, tink the stitches and reknit the row or round.
Using a lifeline can be helpful if you tend to screw up your lace pattern. Here's a YouTube KnitPicks video on how to do it. I don't put in a lifeline because I rarely make mistakes on lace patterns. 

I've been busy designing for two submissions to Knitty.com and I am about to put a bunch of sock designs up on Ravelry. 

Editing my own directions is easy. I tell my designer friends that they can edit their directions by ignoring them for at least a week. Once you've not read your directions, they become strange to your eyeballs and you can read and edit them accurately.

My Knitting Life History

Back when I was 22, I restarted knitting because working at a mental health hospital as a psychiatric technician, our head nurse, Florence, was a knitter. The ward that I worked at was a "Medical Ward" that cared for the operated patients, some psychotic and most were elderly. Once our patients were asleep, Florence and the patient carers sat by the patients' beds, watching TV. Florence knitted, one of my coworkers crocheted, and Florence told me to knit. I hadn't knitted since I was 18, knitting my first sweater, an Aran sweater for my uncle. After that, I didn't knit. But Florence got me back to knitting.

At that time, hubby Jimmy, who was an expert wooden ship modeler, told me that if I was going to knit, I should learn everything about knitting and become an expert like he was. Jimmy wrote a book that I edited.
Yes, it's still sold on Amazon.com. Here's the link

So as of 1972, I became a big knitter...and had my second daughter, Corinne. There is no knitting technique that I haven't done. Jimmy was proud of me and bought me my Schacht Matchless spinning wheel in 1999 when he took me to MD Sheep & Wool Festival. I lost Jimmy in 2002 and I know he'd be proud of me, having written a book too, along with knitting articles. When Knitty.com started, back in 2002, I submitted a sock design, Crusoe, and an article. Swatch Out!. Jimmy died in 2002. 

Next week comes another post, Tonstant Weaders! Gotta go back to knitting my lace shawl. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Fab Fiber Festivals!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year."--Elvis Presley

Had Elvis quit his singing and drug addiction, becoming a sheep breeder would have saved his life. HA!

Big Fiber Festivals Fun

This past weekend was wonderful. I always go to NJ Sheep & Fiber Festival, due to its closeness to my town. But this year, went to the Pennsylvania Endless Mountain Fiber Festival on Saturday. My friend Mindy Wilson's fiber business, Puff the Magic Rabbit, was there and I was happy to see her and buy her dyed yarn. She dyes fibers too. Here's a picture of her wonderful stuff there, the only items I bought. Have a big pile of spinning fibers but had to have hers. This I'll use on a spindle.

Have done a sock design, The Tweedly Socks, with Mindy's sock yarn, which I will give her. And wanted to design another sock pattern on her yarn. That's why I bought another.

 Mindy put this picture up on Facebook and I downloaded it. It's her booth.

Here's me and Mindy!

Mindy was my Knitting Curmudgeon reader and we met a few years ago at Rhinebeck. Many of my readers have become real friends. And if you're a reader here, would enjoy meeting you in person. I'll be at Rhinebeck, NY Sheep and Wool Festival, both Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19. My friend Duffy Stephens, another reader who became a real friend, is coming from Portland, Oregon, staying with me and I will take her up to Rhinebeck, along with a New York City yarn crawl. Fun!

Sunday I ran down to NJ 20th Annual Sheep & Fiber Festival that's at Hunterdon County Fairgrounds.
This festival is smaller than the Endless Mountains but is good, although I bought only one bag of fiber and a pretty bag. Was glad to meet my friend Gina, but didn't see my dear friend, Joe Wilcox, aka Queer Joe. I know Joe wanted to see me too. We were together a few weeks ago. Ain't enough time. He lives in New Hope, PA and my daughter Jennifer and I love to go there to shop and have lunch at a wonderful restaurant. Taking Jenn next month for her birthday...she going to be 45. Yes, I was a teenaged mother.

Tons of sheep at the NJ Festival. Cute! And yelling!
There were a few alpacas too. When I go to Rhinebeck, love the sheep and alpacas there. So Tonstant Weaders, let me know if you're going because will be glad to meet you.

Fiberality Designs

Still editing my own directions. And have designed a pretty lace pullover with Koigu Kersti. Might submit it to Knitty.com but that won't happen until March 1, 2015 for the First Fall + Holiday Headstart 2015.

Koigu had just come out with laceweight! I had designed a lace stole and finished knitting it with a rare laceweight but decided that I would do it in this! Bought it online from Jimmy Beans Wool. Click this link so you can see the fab colors. The color I purchased was this:

Jeez, got too many designs that must be knit. No, ain't hiring a knitter to do these. Once I finish the Koigu Kersti sweater, aka Jezebel Sweater, will redo the lace shawl. And have created an Aran sweater too, plus a pile of sock designs. So even though I don't have a real job, working constantly on my knitting designs. And have submitted my workshop listing because I love teaching knitters and spinners.

Even though I know how to crochet, haven't crocheted in a long time. Gonna start crocheting soon. Make my own crochet design, probably a baby afghan. Want to do baby knitting designs but need baby models. Ain't got any. My grandkids are now adults. Liz is now 22, Ian is 17. My friend Sheila has some little grandchildren so I might ask her if I can use them for modeling.

Anyhoo, it's time to end this post. Time to start a web design for Fiberality Designs, along with an Etsy setup. Once I get all the designs up on Ravelry, going to sell them elsewhere.

So, dear reader skanks, writin' for you next week.

Later, skanks!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Knitting History With Mommy

Best Quote I Heard All Day
“As I get older, I just prefer to knit. ” ― Tracey Ullman

These days, as I get older, knitting is my lifestyle.

Marilyn's Knitting History

Mommy taught me how to knit when I was 7 years old, due to my grabbing her knitting markers from her knitting bag. So she took me to Montclair's Myer's Five & Ten store, bought me a Red Heart ball that was variegated, tons of colors, and Boye's Needles #7.

Mommy cast on a bunch of stitches for me and showed me how to create a knit stitch, teaching me how to knit via the English method. "I'll show you how to purl, sweetheart, when you make a knitted scarf," she informed me. I loved making the stitches, excited when I saw my favorite color, purple. Once my beginner scarf was completed, Mommy showed me how to make stockinette stitch by doing a knit row and then a purl row.

Stopped knitting until I was 18 and my first sweater was an Aran sweater that I made for my Uncle Pete. Didn't realize that I had to measure him, so the sleeves were too long. Once my babies, Jennifer and Corinne, were born, knitting became my love.

Mom's death last March still agonizes me because she was my knitting best friend. She and I shared our love of knitting and Mom often asked me to design sweaters for her, simple designs because she liked watching TV, primarily Yankees games, while she knit.

Ellie's Heart Scarf

Although I have designed the Aran pullover and a lace cardigan, I've created a lace stitch pattern that I entitled "Ellie's Heart."

Just started the Ellie's Heart Scarf that I'll put up on Fiberality Designs. 
Yes, I design my lace stitch patterns and have taught a couple of knitting friends how to do it. Creating a lace stitch pattern is done using the decreases with the yarnovers as the drawing items. SSK places the decreased stitches to the left, as Dec2 moves the decreased stitches to the right. The yarnover with the decrease is part of the drawing. And using a Central Double Decrease is a perfect central drawing line. 

Lace stitch pattern designing can be very geometric. Would love to teach this and may submit it to Vogue Knitting Live.

Fiberality Designs Yarn Pile

Got a ton of yarn that is gonna be used for Fiberality Designs stuff. Dumped it on my dining china cabinet. This was Mom's. I know she'd love seeing the yarn. Bought some at Twist Knitting & Spinning when I was there with Joe two weeks ago.
Busy, busy, busy! Will submit some designs to Knitty.com, Interweave Knits, Knitter's, and maybe Vogue Knitting. This yarn in the picture is going to be used for socks, lace scarves, and lace shawls. The picture doesn't show everything. Ton of shit!

So am going to the NJ 20th Annual Sheep & Fiber Festival next week, down at Hunterdon County Fairgrounds. My dear skank readers, if you're going, stop to see me! Love my blog readers.

Yeah, another blog post next week!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fiberality Designs About to Start for Real

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"Many estates are spent in the gettting, since women for tea forsake spinning and knitting, and men for punch forsake hewing and splitting"--Benjamin Franklin

Yeah, my beloved history interest contains Ben Franklin. I'm a history lover.

Fiberality Designs Ain't Knitting Curmudgeon Designs

Even though a lot of my knitting pals on Facebook said I should call it Knitting Curmudgeon Designs because that's who people know.  NO! Even though I was crabby when I first started blogging back in 2002, having lost my darling husband Jimmy, I ain't curmudgeonly much any more.

So last week, my beloved granddaughter, Liz Wagner, designed an ad for my Fiberality Designs. Here it is.

Liz just graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA and I paid her for creating this ad that I'll put up on Ravelry. Right now there are only two designs there but I'm busy writing and editing my directions for a pile of socks, scarves, and a lace shawl. Currently designing an Aran pullover, sized for men and women, along with a lace sweater knitted with Koigu Kersti.

Here's the current sock design that I'm working on--it's Koigu KPPPM, which I wish Koigu would increase the hank yardage. It's only 175 yards, which means that a sock leg can't be longer than 6 inches. Here's a little picture of Lady's Ladder Sock.

The sock was hanging on my thigh when I shot the picture with my iPhone. This week is design photography. Got a big pile of designs that I gotta shoot, the socks on my crazy fucking mannequin that Liz gave me back when she worked part time at a teenager clothing store at our local mall. My daughters always model my lace shit too.

Liz no longer models my socks. Mother Ellie used to model my socks and I let her keep them. Mom never wanted to learn how to knit socks because she hated knitting with double-pointed needles. I offered to teach her Magic Loop technique but Mom said, "You can knit me the socks I want!" Yes, still missing my knitting mother who died in March.

My Beloved Knitting Guy 

Last weekend, daughter Jennifer and I went down to New Hope PA because we love shopping there and having lunch at a wonderful restaurant. So I let QueerJoe know that I was going to Twist Knitting & Spinning and we met there. Hadn't seen Joe in several years and it was wonderful seeing him. Here we are:

 With the fall comin' close, can't wait to go to the Garden State Sheep Breeders Sheep & Fiber Festival September 6-7. And of course, going to Rhinebeck, aka NYS Sheep & Wool Festival, which is the third weekend in October. My dear friend, Duffy Stephens, is coming from Portland, Oregon, and will stay with me. We'll be going both Saturday and Sunday to Rhinebeck. Liz's girlfriend, Sammie, is a fiber major at her college, so she and Liz will come with us too. Can't wait!

So, my dear readers, I'm gonna go back to blogging every week. Ain't doing much other than knitting designing and will continue to edit knitting directions. Will create a Fiberality Designs website, and start my Etsy place too. Ravelry is an excellent place to sell designs but since I need to earn money, going to sell my designs wherever I can.

Write to you soon, Knitting Curmudgeon skanks!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Knitting Curmudgeon Blog 12th Anniversary

Best Quote I Heard All Day

The state of knitting magazines being what it is lately, I was more than pleasantly surprised with the decent designs featured in the Fall 2002 issue of Vague.--Marilyn Roberts

Yes, that's the first Knitting Curmudgeon blog sentence on July 25, 2002. Twelve years ago, I had lost my darling husband, Jimmy. Knitting was my grief therapy and when I discovered Blogger, writing about knitting helped me concentrate on my life.

Back in 1997, I created the first Knitting Curmudgeon site on AOL's membership site deal. Many KnitList people read the essays that I wrote on it and placed on site pages. As soon as I hit Blogger, I had a writing joy. In 2002, I wrote 76 posts. There were a few other knitting bloggers and we all contacted each other. My readers became bloggers too and now some of them are knitting celebs. These days, many knitters know who I am. At Rhinebeck, people approach me to say "Hello, Knitting Curmudgeon!"

These days, I grieve for my mother Ellie and still cry for Jimmy, although am in touch with my high school boyfriend, who I see occasionally. For Mom, I've just designed a lace stitch pattern for a lace scarf that I entitled "Ellie's Heart Scarf." Here's a sample picture. Began knitting it in Tencel yarn and am gonna switch it to merino laceweight. Didn't like the black lines in the red. 

So the Knitting Curmudgeon is gonna become a knitting design company. I was calling it Fiberality Designs but my knitting friends told me to call it Knitting Curmudgeon Designs because people know who I am.

So my dear readers, I'm going to keep this blog going for the rest of my life. And happy that I ain't as curmudgeonly as I used to be. Time to get back to knitting my current design, which is Ellie's Heart Scarf.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Past Loving Returns!

Best Quote I've Heard All Day

"Memory...is the diary that we all carry about with us"--Oscar Wilde

Still mourning Mom, who died March 28th. Every night I do what she did--knit and watch the Yankees play. Mom (Ellie) always asked me to design a simple sweater or lace scarf for her. And Mom told me that I should make knitting my job, due to the lack of employment since December. So I am but still looking for a technical trainer/instructional designer position.

Right after I lost Mom, I decided to design a lace scarf...Love Ellie Scarf. The lace pattern I created, didn't grab it from a stitch pattern reference book. Designing lace stitch patterns is fun. Yeah, ssk and k2tog are used as drawing lines. Here's a picture of Love Ellie Scarf. Haven't finished it yet, due to other design shit that I'm doing.

Lace addict...yeah, I am. Many of my knitting pals are too. Am about to design Fair Isle socks.

WEBS 40th Anniversary!

Was going up to Vermont last week via Route 91 and I stopped at WEBS, which is in Northampton MA, a lovely town. Now WEBS is not easy to find, although having been there before, knew that I had to turn right by the big blue ATM.

Here's a picture of the WEBS retail store, which is cool! Back in 1974, WEBS started. Even though I had started knitting, had never heard of the place until many years later. When Jimmy, my late husband, and I went up to New Hampshire in the late '90s, he took me to WEBS. I had seen them at Stitches and desired to go to the store.

Yeah, it's a big storage building, with a ton of exciting yarn. Two years ago I made a video of my visit to WEBS and here's the link on YouTube.

My Dear Dob

Going to Vermont to see my dear best friend, Dottie Melcher, at her mother's gorgeous house in South Hero, was wonderful. Dottie and I have been friends since we were in 4th grade. Yes, that many years. She was a talented artist and I was a writer when we were kids. When John Lennon published his book, "In His Own Write," we played with his writing and made up these nicknames for each other. Dottie became Dob, I became Marsh, and our friend Peggy, Pegret. We still call each other these nicknames. HA!!!!

Here's Dob and Marsh.
Dottie is knitting! On a knitting loom. And is making nice lace gloves, caps, and other stuff. I gave her a pile of my yarn stash that I didn't plan on using. A pile of KnitPicks Palette yarn. A week from this coming weekend, there is a Montclair High School reunion for all classes. She's coming down from Massachusetts to stay with Marsh!

Blogging Memory

As of July 25, The Knitting Curmudgeon blog will be 12 years old. Back in the late 90s, I had designed a website using AOL's Member Site deal. That was the original Knitting Curmudgeon joint. My husband Jimmy had a book called "The Curmudgeon" that he loved, so I decided that Knitting Curmudgeon was me.

Take care, my dear Tonstant Weaders...yeah, still a Dorothy Parker lover.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Aran Sweaters Love Increased..by The Clancy Brothers

Best Quote I Heard All Day

We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English."--Winston Churchill

Yes, always loved The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Back when I was a teenager, playing my guitar and singing folk music songs, fell in love with my late husband Jimmy Roberts. We both sang together. And the first sweater I ever knit was a Spinnerin Aran sweater design, making it for Jimmy. Didn't know that I had to measure his arms and chest, so it didn't fit him. Gave it to my Uncle Pete. As a novice knitter, loved making the cables and the Aran texture stitches. Here's the Clancys and Makem on YouTube.

So now, I am designing an Aran sweater that I will submit to a magazine, which is why I won't display its swatch. But I just designed a pair of Aran socks that I entitled "Slainte! Socks".  Slainte is an Irish Gaelic toast--Health! I just photographed them for my directions layout, which I'll put up on Ravelry for 5 bucks. It's not going to be Fiberality Designs anymore. My friends on Facebook told me I gotta make it The Knitting Curmudgeon Designs since people recognize me via my nickname.

My sweetheart granddaughter Liz gave me this mannequin when she worked at a teen clothing store at our local mall. They were going to throw the mannequin away so Liz took it home. And I got it! Put pants on it too. Liz used to be my sock model and I wish she'd still do that. Her girlfriend, Sammie, who is a college fiber major, can be my model perhaps.

Yeah, short post today. I'm writing an essay for Interweave Knits's Ravelings on the last page that I'll submit soon. Back in 2007, had one written and published there. And designing for a Knitty.com submission, a Vogue Knitting submission, and a Knitter's submission.

Due to the lack of a tech writer/trainer job, I ain't gonna sit at home doing nothing. Am also available for knitting directions editing. Take care my dear reader skanks. I'll be posting again soon.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Knitlist 1997 History

Best Quote I Heard All Day

The innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care...--Shakespeare

Dreaming of knitting? Nah! A long time ago, back in 1997, my first sock design was given to my friends on Knitlist's Christmas gift exchange.

Lately, I've been thinking about my online knitting beginning, when I was using AOL, like everyone did to get onto the internet. The Knitlist was an e-mail knitting group, with a pile of wonderful knitters. Back in 1997, pictures and graphics could not be added to your e-mail. So when I donated my sock design that I called Leaves of Grass, there was no picture of it. Everyone on Knitlist loved using the free patterns, although they had to trust the directions because there were no pictures of the designs. I put it up on Ravelry, when I redesigned it using Black Bunny Fibers Merino Silk sock yarn, owned by my friend Carol Sulcoski, who wasn't on the Knitlist, along with the rest of my current knitting friends, other than Chris Erickson. Chris became my good pal on Knit List.

Here's a picture of my first sock design, Leaves of Grass. It's free on Ravelry. If you want it, click HERE!

Now below is what I wrote on my first sock design directions. And at the bottom was The Knitting Curmudgeon AOL Member site that I designed...and that's the origin of The Knitting Curmudgeon. Obviously, that site doesn't exist anymore. But lots of my site readers showed up here when I began blogging as The Knitting Curmudgeon back in July 2002.

Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 14:03:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: MarRoberts@aol.com
To: Knit@bolis.com
Subject: KNIT: Leaves of Grass gift socks
Hi knittistes :-)
I figured it was time I contributed to the 1997 Knit List Christmas Gift
The color choice here directly influenced the sock design--it's a pale green
BW's Second Treasury produced the stitch pattern that I wanted--overlapping
I love a lacy eyelet stitch that looks a lot more complex than it actually
Marilyn in NJ

patterns, so I thought I'd donate my latest sock pattern. It's a light and
airy little anklet with a lacy double overlapping leaves instep panel. I used
Socka Cotton Color, 53% cotton, 32% wool and 15% "polyamide", which I've
always assumed to be the European way of saying "rayon."
with subtle aqua and purple flecks in it. I immediately thought of leaves
shimmering in the sunlight, and I would suggest using the same yarn for the
same results. Or, at least use a pleasing shade of green.
leaves with the stems outlined in yo's. And with an 8-round repeat, it was
quickly memorized and easily executed. I altered BW's pattern a bit so that
the original flat WS rows would work in the round and I adjusted the pattern
to fit into my 32-stitch instep requirement.
is. You need to do about 3 pattern repeats before you see the overlapping
leaves develop. But once you start, it's like eating peanuts. Have fun making
these socks--I'm giving a pair to my sister for Christmas, so maybe now
she'll shut up for once.
THE KNITTING CURMUDGEON: http:/members.aol.com/marroberts/index.html

Miss the Knitlist. If you were on it, leave me a comment here. On Facebook, I am a member of a knitting group.

So I'll be posting again this weekend. Back to writing constantly now. Take care, my Tonstant Weaders. Ain't a pissed-off curmudgeon much anymore. :-)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Knitting Curmudgeon...Yeah, Designs

Best Quote I Heard All Day

“To me, the raveled sleeve of care is never more painlessly knitted up than in an evening alone in a chair snug yet copious, with a good light and an easily held little volume sloppily printed and bound in inexpensive paper."--Dorothy Parker

Yes, my beloved writer was a knitter too! When Dorothy Parker lived in New Hope, PA, she knit constantly.  This quote was part of one of her book reviews back in 1959...

Book review Of Ellery Queen: The New York Murders. 

Knitting Curmudgeon Designs

Yes, Fiberality Designs is going away. My Facebook friends told me to use Knitting Curmudgeon because that's my other name. Using Marilyn Roberts's Designs ain't useful either. When I meet knitters and tell them I'm The Knitting Curmudgeon, they know who the fuck I am. 

Now that I haven't yet gotten a job as a technical trainer, instructional designer, or technical writer, I gotta make knitting designing my career. Sitting at home in my apartment and not going to work makes me saddened. I designed a pile of socks and now am about to swatch Koigu Kristi for a sweater design. Designing socks is fast because I can knit the sock design in a few days. Now it's time to design bigger shit!

Sitting out on my deck, working on my knitting designs, is wonderful! This is a lace stole that my daughter Jennifer wants, so it's going up on Ravelry. The lace yarn is beautiful. It''s Juniper Moon Farm Findley, 50% Merino wool/50% silk. And the color is 30 Lilac. Yeah, I'm a purple addict! But my current sock design is done in a canary yellow. As soon as I get the designs' directions completed, am going to upload many of them on Ravelry. Gotta make some money. Miss my knitting Mom. Jeez, I miss her terribly. And pray, hoping her spirit hears me. Watching the Yankees play and knitting is the activity we shared. I cry while watching the Yanks.

Steekin' Geek News

Smartphone Knitting Apps

Last week I promised to write about knitting apps for your smartphones. I've owned a Samsung Galaxy that broke last December, so I bought an Apple iPhone. Galaxy system is Android, and iPhone is iPhone.

So the Android knitting app I placed on my Galaxy was only County Plus, a digital stitch counter. And because it's not available for iPhones, I got iStitchCounter for free. The major fuckup you get using the digital counters is accidentally touching the counter and screwing up the count. However, when you're knitting socks on double-pointed needles, you can't stick a needle counter on them, so getting a digital counter on your smartphone is helpful.

On my iPhone, I also placed Knitting Chart Maker so if my brain hit me with a stitch pattern away from home, can chart it using this app. Have only used it once. The current version is very limited. Not a lot of symbols and you can't create yours. There are other chart apps, which I haven't used and won't.

Ravulous, an Android app that I had, is helpful if you wanna do some stuff on Ravelry via your smart phone. Wish I had it for my iPhone but am going to buy Wooly for $.99.

Also have Knit Handy, knitCompanion, and Knit Counter Lite on my iPhone. These are my favorite smartphone apps. Knit Handy, created from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements, is outstanding. And knitCompanion I use primarily on my iPad.

So do the "knitting" search for your Android or iPhone operating systems. Frankly, I tend to use knitting apps to my iPad rather than my phone. And yes, my "You Can Knit!" book is interactive, but you can get it for your iPhone. Why anyone would want to read it on an iPhone is beyond my opinion. Reading on a smartphone means ya better have damned good eyesight.

KnitVisualizer Lack of Upgrade

I decided to write to Nancy, the owner and developer of KnitVisualizer, due to the problem I now have with the app on my Apple MacBook. Here's what I wrote to her:
KnitVisualizer has never been updated since 2008. Mac OS X 10.6.8 won't let me create a new chart or work on an old one. When are you going to update the app? Although I own two other knitting chart apps, KnitVisualizer had always been my favorite. It works fine on my PC, Windows 7.

 She hasn't been able to upgrade her app due to her full-time job and her kids who don't give her sufficient time to work on KnitVisualizer. Having worked with developers for years, I know that it's tough time to spend; however, when you're selling an app, it's important to upgrade it. KnitVisualizer not only needs to function on Mac OS X but she should add a few more features. I'm going suggest those to her. 

OK, that's it for this week. Am happy that I'm back to blogging regularly. And will start writing an article for one of the knitting mags. Ain't retired. Take care, my sweet skanks!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Knitting Pro...or Knitting Prop?

Best Quote I Heard All Day

Maya Angelou
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” --Maya Angelou

Saddened that we lost this wonderful writer. And now that I'm not getting a tech writer or trainer job, have decided to return to knitting as my fucking career. Writing has been my lifetime love, along with knitting. Having written that novice knitter's interactive book, You Can Knit! A Better Way to Learn Knitting Basics, two years ago, was the career I always desired.

So what's my next book? I have a couple of ideas. Would like to do a stitch pattern book that contains leaf and flower stitch patterns. This I can do on my own, along with Sock It To Me, my sock designs that will be sold on Ravelry.

Knitting Poetry and Therapy

When I was 6 years old, having learned how to read, my Oma bought me a wonderful poetry book. So reading the writing rhythm, I began writing poems. And always gave them to Mom, who saved them and gave them to me a few years ago. I put one up on Facebook this past Thursday. And when Maya Angelou died, I thought it would be fun to write poetry again...yeah, poems about knitting.

Saw Paul McCartney on TV last night on a Billy Joel show, singing "Let It Be."
My lyrics..."Let it knit, let it knit, whisper words of charting, let it knit. There will be a shortrow, let it knit." Heh heh!

Knitting was my career back in the '80s as a knitting editor and I'd love to go back to the knitting publication industry. During depression, my knitting made me feel human. And designing is comforting because I enjoy creativity. A friend of mine is suffering from severe depression and she's a knitter too. Having told her to get on medication, I hope that she continues to knit because it keeps your mental sadness out of your brain to some degree.

Writing and knitting are my therapies, along with spinning. And hanging out with my knitting friends.

Jezebel Socks Soon

Finally getting my sock designs' directions finished. I edit my own writing because I know how to do that properly. When you write directions, don't read them again for a week. Once your brain has dropped what you wrote, you'll read the directions as if they weren't yours and make the proper edits.

So here's a picture. Yeah, stuck my foot on top of my PC laptop. The stitch pattern is a lace ribbing and the yarn is Madelinetosh Merino Light.
The next design I've written is an Aran pullover that I'll submit to a magazine. Yes, I know which mag it's gonna go to but will let you know when it's accepted.

Here Comes Fiberality Designs

Now that I've decided to be a knitting pro, my Ravelry page for my designs will be Fiberality Designs, which I set up a couple of years ago and only put up four designs, two of which are free. The freebies have been downloaded in hundreds but the two for sale...only one has sold. So gotta buy ads, I presume. And perhaps set up a Facebook page. Tell me what you think! I depend on my readers for their opinions. No, ain't a curmudgeon much any more.

A bunch of my Facebook friends are knitting celebrities, some of whom I know in person. And now that I'm going back to knitting as a career, they'd better support me. Probably won't, even though I have always supported them. I never ask knitting celebs to be my friend on Facebook. The ones who are my friends there asked me to be their friend. So once I set up Fiberality Designs on Facebook, they fucking better help me. I've been a knitter a lot longer than they have, due to my age.

Knitcurmudgeon Anniversary

My God! It's gonna be 12 years on July 25. I was one of the first knitting bloggers back then. So on the anniversary date, I will put up a free design for my readers. Next week, I'll be The Steekin' Geek for you, letting you know about smartphone knitting apps that are worthwhile. I've owned an Android phone and now have an iPhone, so will discuss both for ya!

Take care, my dear skanks! I'm happier now and hope you are too. Knitting in the summer is just as nice as in the cold weather.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Swatch It To YA!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.” --Elizabeth Zimmerman

Even though I am not working as a technical writer, technical trainer, or instructional designer, my beloved EZ quote is always in my heart. Yes, am constantly knitting and only my own designs. You'll be seeing them up on Ravelry as soon as I finish editing my own directions.

Back in 2003, I wrote an article for Knitty.com when it was initially online. Yeah, Swatch Out! Now it's time for me to submit my designs and some articles to the magazines. In 2007 I wrote three for Interweave Knits--the best was my interview with Kristin Nicholas. Love doing interviews and I know who the next knitting celeb would be. Ain't gonna tell you who because that person probably reads my blog.

Swatch Batch

I'm totally addicted to lace and my latest design crap is going to be a stole. Daughter Jennifer and I went down to New Hope, PA, where QueerJoe lives. Jenn bought a gorgeous purple dress and I have this wonderful lace yarn, Juniper Moon Farm Findley, which ain't cheap but is 50% Merino/50% silk.

Here's the swatch, prior to blocking.

Next designs are going to be an Aran pullover with Cascade 220 and a lacy cardigan with Koigu Kersti.  This shit keeps me busy, although I'll be happy to go back working in IT.

New Knitting Chart App

I finally got the StitchMastery trial on my Toshiba PC laptop. Yeah, your Steekin' Geek also owns a MacBook, which I am using now.

StitchMastery is excellent. What pisses me off is that KnitVisualizer has not been upgraded since 2008. Version 2.1 is it. When I upgraded my Mac OS recently, my KnitVisualizer no longer worked. The app opens but you can't create a new chart. The stitch palette is displayed on the left side, not the right side where it used to show up. So Intwined Studio is all I can use on my MacBook.

My late Mom's will is giving me some bucks. Gonna buy a new MacBook. And dump my lousy Toshiba PC laptop, which doesn't have a lot of room on it.

So that's it, skanks! I've not had much to write about recently but will be back here next week.